WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - With less than two weeks left before she’s crowned as the 2019 Azalea Festival queen, Briana Venskus is defending a controversial Instagram post.
Last November, the actress and Wilmington native reacted on Instagram when she says she was denied a television role.
“I wasn’t seen as ‘authentically LGBTQ’ enough,” she said in the post.
Venskus, an actress and production assistant, has spent the last 10 years building her career in film, while also becoming a strong voice for the LGBTQ community in the film industry, according to officials.
What has stirred up much of the conversation on the post, however, is a picture of Venskus showing the middle finger and using an expletive in her comments.
Many people have left comments on the North Carolina Azalea Festival’s Facebook page criticizing the festival’s selection of Venskus as Queen Azalea.
Thursday, Venskus defended her comments and the photo.
"I am definitely a unique choice for the festival, but I am ladylike in every way, being as I am 100 percent a lady,” she said in the comment section of the festival’s Facebook page. “I have also managed to do some really wonderful and positive things in my life and career that outweigh the use of a finger."
Venskus will be crowned Queen Azalea 2019 Wednesday, April 3.
The North Carolina Azalea Festival run from April 3-7.